Stars of Research

We’re involved in more than 300 projects looking to find new treatments and advances in patient care, covering many areas of medicine and with thousands of patients volunteering to take part in clinical trials. Here are some of our Stars of Research – who you can also follow by using #StarsofResearch. Nominate a Star of Research yourself by emailing Communications@nnuh.nhs.uk.

International recognition for Norfolk radiologist

A Norfolk radiologist has achieved international recognition for his research using advanced imaging to help patients with osteoarthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions.

Dr Jamie MacKay, who is a radiologist at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) and lecturer at University of East Anglia (UEA), has been elected as a Junior Fellow of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM), which has around 8,000 members.

Exploring the link between poor diet and post-stroke falls

Dietitians here and at the University of East Anglia are carrying out research aiming to help reduce the number of falls suffered by patients recovering from a stroke.

Our Research Capability Fund (RCF) has awarded £12,500 for a year-long project set up by dietitian Eliza Tassone to  examine whether patients who suffer a stroke are more likely to have a subsequent fall when their nutritional status is poor.

RECOVERY

We’re very proud to be involved in RECOVERY,  a national study that’s testing existing drugs to see if they are effective in treating Covid-19.

The RECOVERY trial is a large, randomised controlled trial of possible treatments for patients admitted to hospital with Covid-19. More than 11,500 patients. The first significant results found that the use of the steroid dexamethasone cut the risk of death by a third for patients on ventilators and reduced deaths by a fifth for patients on oxygen.

Using a cannabis-based medicine on NICU

We’ve enrolled the world’s very first two babies onto this randomised study, which is funded and sponsored by GW Pharmaceuticals and supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

Researchers say this is the first step that could one day lead to a cannabis-derived medicine being used routinely in neonatal care to help babies at risk of seizures and brain injury. The study is looking to see if the medicine is safe and effective in lessening the degree of brain injury for babies with Neonatal Hypoxic-ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE).

Boosting gut health of premature babies

Boosting milk for premature babies with healthy bacteria may have helped halve the number of serious gut problems and infections, according to new research we’ve led.

Researchers at here at  NNUH, Quadram Institute and the University of East Anglia reviewed the outcomes of almost 1,000 very premature babies who were admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit  over a 10-year period.

MUK9

We recruited the highest number of people onto this nationwide research study across 40 hospitals and involving 472 patients.

MUK9 used state-of-the-art genetic profiling and a novel drug regime that’s tailored to an individual’s genetic subtype to treat high-risk bone marrow cancer.

ALPHA

Patients with chronic hand eczema have been taking part in a research study here to help establish the most effective treatment for their condition.

We’re one of the top recruiters in the country to the ALPHA trial and 20 of our patients have so far joined the study, co-ordinated by the Leeds Institute of Clinical Trials Research, which involves participants having their hands exposed to ultra violet light or taking the drug Alitretinoin.

Norfolk ADaPt

The Norfolk Accumulation of Dietary Bioactives and Prostate Cancer (ADaPt) study was launched by researchers here and at Quadram Institute Bioscience (QIB).

Taking place at the NNUH-run Clinical Research Facility at the Quadram Institute, it involves 40 patients due to receive a biopsy for suspected or previously diagnosed prostate cancer, and is investigating the link between consuming the bioactive compounds in broccoli and garlic and prostate cancer to expand our understanding of how they can improve prostate health.

The Broccoli In Osteoarthritis (BRIO) trial

Researchers here and at the University of East Anglia have launched a trial to see whether eating broccoli could help with osteoarthritis.

They will investigate the compound sulforaphane,  released when eating cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage with trial participants who are over 50 and in pain with knee osteoarthritis – who like broccoli.

The Broccoli In Osteoarthritis (BRIO) trial will investigate whether a broccoli-rich diet improves pain and physical function. Researchers will compare the effects of eating broccoli soup with eating one that contains no broccoli but looks and tastes the same, measuring pain and physical function at the start of the trial, at six weeks and at 12 weeks.

PEP-TALK

We’re the first in the country to enrol patients on to the PEP-TALK trial, co-ordinated by the University of Oxford, which aims to help patients to be more active following surgery and improve their quality of life.

Physiotherapists, including Lewis Weatherburn and Helena Daniell (pictured) joined the study to provide more support to patients who have received hip or knee replacements.

FROSTTIE

We were the first Trust in the country to join the FROSTTIE clinical trial to help babies with breastfeeding difficulties because of tongue-tie – which affects up to 11% of newborns.

The study aims to discover if skilled support for breastfeeding on its own, or together with a minor snip (frenotomy), helps mothers and their babies to breastfeed.

Luisa Lyons, Specialist Midwife for Restrictive Lingual Frenulum and Lactation Support, and Louise Coke, Senior Paediatric Research Nurse, are working on the study.

NeoCLEAR

We were the first hospital in the East of England to sign-up to the NeoCLEAR trial, which aims to improve the treatment of babies with suspected infections or neurological conditions.

Karen Few and Raducu Clapuci are working on the trial in our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, investigating the best techniques to carry out a successful lumbar puncture procedure.

A lumbar puncture is performed by doctors to diagnose meningitis or other neurological conditions. The procedure involves taking a small amount of fluid from the spine through a needle in the lower back and the main aim of the clinical trial is to find out which technique produces the clearest sample of fluid in the lowest number of attempts.

Sunshine study

Our Dermatology research team was first to sign-up a patient to the Sunshine study, which aims to help patients with the painful skin condition Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS). The condition leaves people requiring constant management and they often need surgery.

The clinical trial,  sponsored by Novartis and supported by the NIHR (National Institute for Health Research), is being run across 33 countries.

LuCID – NNUH joins biopsy breathalyser trial

Eleanor Mishra, Consultant in Respiratory Medicine, and Julie Cook are supporting the LuCID biopsy breathalyser trial.

A lot of lung cancers are diagnosed late and the study is looking at early detection by measuring volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in exhaled breath.

Patients referred to us with suspected lung cancer took part in the LuCID trial by giving a breath sample which will help develop a potential screening programme. The study is led by Royal Papworth Hospital and was developed by Owlstone Medical, who created a biopsy breathalyser.

DANTE – skin cancer study

Our Oncology team, including Adele Cooper and Jenny Nobes,  began the DANTE clinical trial to help patients who are receiving immunotherapy to treat inoperable melanoma.

While immunotherapy appears to be most effective in the first year, some patients with skin cancer have received the treatment for more than two years.

The new trial, funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), will find out whether stopping immunotherapy after a year is as effective at controlling the cancer as treatments over a longer period.

The CAVA device

Principal Investigator John Phillips,  Consultant Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeon, Jacob Newman and Stephen Cox hope that, following trials, the CAVA device will be available at initial referral to help treat dizziness.

Dizziness can be the result of problems with the inner ear or other causes, including heart and circulatory, neurological or metabolic (such as diabetes) conditions,  and even anxiety. This means its often hard to identify the exact cause of sporadic attacks of dizziness in many patients. Currently, our CAVA device is unique and provides a special opportunity to gain insight into the workings of the ears and brain.

ARCTIC trial

We do a lot of research to try to keep at the forefront of neonatal care. Everything we’re doing with our research involving babies is trying to work out what is better for babies and what treatments may help them to survive as healthily as possible.
We can only move forward if we do research and are grateful to all the parents who generously allow their babies to participate in these important research studies.